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Innovative assay for diagnosis of Herpes B Virus infection

Reference Number TO 02-00342

Challenge

Herpes B virus (HBV) also known as cercopithecine herpesvirus 1 or herpesvirus simiae or macacine herpesvirus 1 is endemic in many populations of macaques, both in the wild and in captivity. Being transmittable via various routes like bites, it poses a serious threat of zoonotic infections, leading to severe viral encephalitis in humans with a high mortality rate. Hence, HBV constitutes a considerable occupational hazard for animal caretakers, veterinarians and laboratory personnel. In addition, laboratory animal facilities aim at pathogen-free macaque colonies to avoid corruption of results due to HBV infection. The establishment and sustainable maintenance of specific pathogen-free monkey colonies depends on a reliable identification of carrier animals. Due to long periods of latency of HBV, this cannot be achieved by testing body fluids for virus-specific nucleic acids. Furthermore, use of HBV antigens for serological assays is restricted to laboratories having high safety level (3-4). Moreover, the commercially available ELISA for the detection of the closely related human herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 and -2), which has been used because of cross-reactivity and lower safety level requirements, can lead to ‘‘false negative’’ results due to differences in the primary sequences.  Therefore, a HBV-specific, highly sensitive serological assay suitable for use under low safety level is required.

Fig. Rhesus monkey with oralulceration due to herpes B virus infection.
Fig. Rhesus monkey with oralulceration due to herpes B virus infection.

Technology

The present invention provides a method for determining the presence and status of HBV infection in primates by making use of short sequence specific peptides of the HBV glycoproteins B, C, D, G, H or L. At least two different peptides with 4 to 40 amino acid residues are detected representing selected target regions of antibodies being specific against HBV and thereby allowing determination of the presence or the status of the HBV infection based on the presence and/or amount of the antibodies accordingly. The innovative method is highly sensitive and selective. It is suitable for different assay platform technologies such as lineblot, ELISA or Luminex® and was validated using a Luminex® based multiplex assay.

Commercial Opportunity

The technology is offered for co-development and/or licensing.

Developmental Status

Proof-of-concept obtained with macaque sera using a Luminex® based multiplex assay. A lineblot assay format is currently under development.

Patent Situation

European patent application pending EP17172988.

Further Reading

Hotop et al. 2014: Multiple Antibody Targets on Herpes B Glycoproteins B and D Identified by Screening Sera of Infected Rhesus Macaques with Peptide Microarrays. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 31;9(1):e86857.